Ernesto Saulong gets the chance to become one of the boys on March 1 when he battles defending champion Ryosuke Iwasa of Japan for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-bantamweight crown in Tokyo.
A complete unknown, Saulong, a right-hander is reporting for training camp in Magallanes, Cavite, tomorrow to toughen up for his first crack at the world title, his lead trainer Joven Jimenez said yesterday.
Jimenez also handles IBF super-flyweight king Jerwin Ancajas and the two fighters are going to spar with each other.
Ancajas is also getting ready to defend his IBF 115-lb title on Feb. 3 in Corpus Christi, Texas, against Israel Gonzalez of Mexico.
Jimenez feels Saulong has what it takes to upset Iwasa when they slug it out at the Kokugikan Sumo Arena.
“He has a big chance of winning (the world title),” said Jimenez.
Saulong, based in Santa Rosa, Laguna, but is a native of Mindoro Occidental, has a 21-2-1 win-loss-draw card with eight KOs.
Iwasa, making the first defense of the IBF 122-lb throne, has a more sparkling 24-2-1 slate with 16 Kos.
If victorious, Saulong will beef up the dwindling number of Filipino boxers who hold world titles.
Currently, the two world champions are Ancajas and Donnie Nietes. Last Dec. 31, Milan Melindo lost his IBF light-fly diadem in Tokyo. (Nick Giongco)